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They Say: 1 in 5 Kids Suffered Flu-Like Illness in October

974458_25898505Cough cough, sniffle sniffle.  That’s what I hear every time I’m in the company of kids these days.  Not only is it prime time of year for back-to-school colds and fall allergies, we’re in the thick of another wave of H1N1.

In fact, experts say that more people have gotten sick with the pandemic flu strain in the last six weeks than since the virus was discovered in April.  And a recent telephone survey of 14,000 adults suggests that in October alone, one in five children came down with flu-like illness.

That’s “flu-like illness” and not “the swine flu” because the CDC is no longer testing suspected cases.  Any ER or doctor test that turns up influenza A is assumed to be H1N1, but since the tests have a high rates of false negatives, most cases are diagnosed on symptoms alone.

Swine flu or regular flu, doesn’t matter:  The treatment is the same.

A recent computer modeling suggests that this week could be the peak of the fall wave.  And it also suggests that the vaccine will be too late to slow infections by much:

us_fig2_new1

According to this model, infections could start declining around Halloween.  But if CDC has been trying to impress one thing on us since April, it’s that no one really knows what flu is going to do.

In the meantime, concerned parents should rely on rest, fluids, and appropriate medications if kids fall ill, and educate themselves on the signs that kid might need emergency treatment.

Have your kids been sick with flu-like illness this fall?

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